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An Overview of Laser Engraving Craftsmanship

Home > An Overview of Laser Engraving Craftsmanship

An Overview of Laser Engraving Craftsmanship

2024-01-26 15:18:57

I. Introduction
Laser engraving, also known as laser etching, is a type of surface processing craft. Similar to printing and offsetting, they all print text or patterns on products. However, compared to the latter, laser engraving has faster marking speed; more beautiful patterns; higher resolution; less wear and tear; better precision; and lower cost.

II. Artisanal Definition
Laser engraving refers to using the optical energy of a laser beam to cause chemical and physical changes in the surface material to engrave traces, or to burn away part of the material to reveal the desired engraved patterns or text. According to the engraving method, it can be divided into dot matrix engraving and vector cutting.

Dot Matrix Engraving: Similar to high-definition dot matrix printing, the laser head swings left and right each time to engrave a line composed of a series of dots. Then, the laser head moves up and down at the same time to engrave multiple lines, eventually forming the entire graphic or text.
Vector Engraving: This is usually performed on the outer contour line of a graphic or text. This mode is commonly used for piercing and cutting through materials such as wood, paper, and acrylic. It can also be used to mark various surfaces.

III. Characteristics of Artisanal Craftsmanship
Principle:

  1. Utilizing the high-intensity focused laser beam emitted by the laser, the material is oxidized at the focal point to process it;
  2. The marking effect is achieved by vaporizing the surface material to reveal the underlying material, or by using the light energy to cause chemical and physical changes in the surface material to leave traces, or by burning away part of the material to reveal the desired engraved patterns or text.

Performance:
The performance of a laser engraving machine is mainly determined by its engraving speed, engraving strength, and light spot size.

Engraving Speed:
This refers to the speed at which the laser head moves, usually expressed in IPS (inches per second). High speed brings high production efficiency. Speed can also be used to control the depth of cutting or engraving. With a specific laser strength, the slower the speed, the deeper the cutting or engraving will be. The engraving speed can be adjusted through the control panel of the laser engraving machine or by using the computer's printing drive program. The adjustment range is from 1% to 100%, with an adjustment interval of 1%.

Engraving Strength:
The greater the strength, the deeper the cutting or engraving.

Light Spot Size:
This can be adjusted using lenses with different focal lengths. Lenses with smaller focal lengths are suitable for high-resolution engraving. Lenses with larger focal lengths are suitable for lower resolution engraving, but they are the best choice for vector engraving. The standard configuration is usually a 2.0-inch lens, with a light spot size in the middle, suitable for various situations.

IV. Structure of the Laser Engraving Machine
As shown in the figure, the laser engraving machine consists of a computer (for setting the graphic path and laser engraving parameters), laser head, cooling device, and machine control panel.

Applicable Materials:
Bamboo products, organic glass, metal plates, glass, stone, crystal, acrylic, paper, double-color board, anodized aluminum, leather, plastic, epoxy resin, polyester resin, spray-painted metal.

V. Parameters and Technological Processes
The engraving effect of the laser engraving machine mainly undergoes debugging from the following aspects:

  1. Current intensity → Focal length → Engraving effect
    When engraving metal materials, the current intensity is large, generally above 10;
    When engraving non-metallic materials, the current intensity is small, generally around 9.5-10;
    The current intensity has a significant impact on engraving non-metallic materials. If the current is too large, it will damage the product surface, such as burning, engraving with bubbles, etc. If it's too small, the pattern will not be clear and will lack depth.
    When engraving metal materials, the distance from the focal point should generally be closer;
    When engraving non-metallic materials, it can deviate from the focal point, especially when engraving translucent buttons. One must deviate from the focal point by 3-5mm.
  2. Impact of engraving parameters on the effect

Increasing precision:
Effective vector step reduction
Increase effective vector step interval time
Increase Q frequency

Increasing depth:
Effective vector step reduction
Increase effective vector step interval time
Reduce Q frequency
Increase current

Increasing engraving speed:
Effective vector step increase
Decrease laser off delay time
Decrease effective vector step interval time
Increase void vector step
Decrease jump delay time
Decrease void vector step interval time

  1. Laser Engraving Technological Process:

Pre-cleaning:
This is mainly used to remove oil and dirt from the surface of the material to ensure the clean surface required for laser engraving.

Engraving:
The process of generating marks on the surface of the workpiece using a laser beam.

VI. Common Problems and Improvement Methods

  1. Problem: Engraving with bubbles
    Improvement method: Reduce the current intensity, increase the engraving speed, or adjust the distance between the focal point and the surface of the material.
  2. Problem: Engraving with burn marks
    Improvement method: Reduce the current intensity or reduce the engraving speed.
  3. Problem: Engraving with uneven depth
    Improvement method: Adjust the distance between the focal point and the surface of the material, or adjust the engraving speed.
  4. Problem: Engraving with unclear patterns
    Improvement method: Increase the current intensity or increase the engraving speed.
  5. Problem: Engraving with incomplete patterns
    Improvement method: Increase the current intensity, increase the engraving speed, or increase the effective vector step.
  6. Problem: Engraving with excessive heat generation
    Improvement method: Increase the cooling rate, reduce the current intensity, or reduce the engraving speed.
  7. Problem: Engraving with poor adhesion
    Improvement method: Increase the surface roughness of the material, increase the current intensity, or reduce the engraving speed.

Note: When encountering problems during the engraving process, try to adjust the relevant parameters step by step to find the optimal solution. If the problem persists, consider seeking professional technical support.

VII. Application of Packaging Technology

Laser engraving technology, in addition to silk screen printing and hot stamping, is one of the most commonly used graphic and text processing techniques. It is often used in the field of packaging, such as cardboard and wooden boxes.

Conclusion:

Laser engraving is a versatile and precise surface processing technique that offers numerous advantages over traditional printing and marking methods. Its ability to engrave on various materials with high speed, excellent resolution, and minimal wear and tear makes it an ideal choice for numerous industries, including packaging, signage, and promotional products.

Understanding the principles and characteristics of laser engraving and the parameters that affect its performance is crucial for achieving optimal results. By following the proper technological processes and addressing common problems, one can ensure consistent, high-quality engraving that meets their specific needs.

As laser engraving technology continues to evolve, it is likely to become an even more integral part of many industries, offering new possibilities for customization, efficiency, and innovation. By staying informed about the latest developments and best practices, professionals can continue to harness the full potential of this powerful and versatile tool.

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